Brogborough ’10’ 17/8/16

With the Astwood circuit (and the Stagsden course) still sidelined by the weak bridge for which the current remedy appears to be to install traffic lights, it was something of a relief to be able to shift this evening’s event to the Brogborough course. Our last outing on this course was something of a flop, since the event was abandoned due to freshly laid chippings. Tonight, all was well – and not only that, the weather was in our favour!

22 rider lined up, and a considerable number recorded PBs. Full results are over at the NBRC website. It was a pretty nice evening, and I felt pretty good, especially having signs of returning form on Sunday’s open ’25’ on the F1B/25. This evening, I was trying to keep an eye on the power – once down the starting hill, I hoped to keep focus on power through the event. In the end, I didn’t have too much trouble with the new roundabout, though the last half mile always seems a bit tougher that one might expect. I took second place to Richard, and first place on veteran standard.

We also got a glimpse of the ‘flying bum’ airship on its maiden flight from the Cardington hangars! Continue reading

Finsbury Park CC ’25’ 14/8/16

After the previous weekend’s ’25’ on the F1B/25 (the Beds Road CC), for which the meteorological conditions were challenging to say the least, I had high hopes for this ’25’, on the same course. On the morning, it was cloudy and pleasantly cool and with only the lightest of breezes in the air – if anything it offered a slight tailwind to the turn.

As the Duo Normand is now only 6 weeks or so away, I thought I might try out the new skinsuit which Team Grumpy will be using for the Duo. It’s one of the Bioracer SpeedConcept TT skinsuits, and is made from some superspringy lycra. Actually, the main issues with skinsuits (for me, at least) are (a) comfort at the contact point, and (b) whether the skinsuit fabric fits as wrinkle-free as possible. I can comment that the skinsuit is excellent on both counts. I guess that compensates that the garment apparently makes me look like an old inner tube!

I was starting a bit later in the field than the previous week – #53 at 7.53am – numbering started at 10, so there were 51 riders on the start sheet. That was quite good from a transportation point of view. The southbound leg was uneventful, with clear runs through the roundabouts, and with one rider passed. In fact, I didn’t see many riders out there, as there were some DNSs up ahead on the start order. I reached the turn in a little over 28 minutes, which usually bodes well for me on the F1B/25.  Katja had nudged me last week to put a bit of back into the race – I had planned to go for a 56, so the rapidity of the outbound leg looked good.

On the return leg, there was effectively no headwind, and other than a minor slowing by a Kingsmill delivery lorry at one of the roundabouts I had a clear run back. All the way back, I was doing calculations in my head about my pace – I was figuring on a quite short 56 as a likely result. Passing under the Tempsford flyover I was digging quite deep – a bit of support  as I passed Tempsford spurred me on a bit – and I finished in 55:40.

This is my best ’25’ result since 2010, and one that I’m really pleased with.


Stoke Hammond ’10’ 10/8/16

For once in the 2016 season, one of the NBRC club events was (a) held in quite nice conditions, and (b) was not affected by roadworks or other road closures! This was also the NBRC Club ’10’ Championships and saw 15 riders in total take part. The fastest on the night was Jez Honor (Equipe Velo) with an excellent 20:32 (which we think is a course record). Good to see Jez tonight – his work commitments have prevented him riding many of our events this year. Richard Golding took second spot with 21:58, while the best placed first claim NBRC riders were Tim Bailey and me, who tied for third place with 22:36. Full results at the NBRC website.

For my part, I found it a nice evening with no real issues, other than the RTA that happened while we were on the course: a driver turned his van through some somersaults onto the verge. I rode past just as I caught another rider. There didn’t seem to be anything to be gained by stopping, so I carried on.

Here’s the Garmin trace:


Beds Road CC ’25’ 7/8/16

Rather a windy morning on the F1B/25 for this event, and mostly it manifest itself as an unhelpful sidewind! There’s a website which uses the weather forecast to predict conditions for a given time trial – MyWindsock – so actually I had a pretty good idea what it was to be like. I was mostly worried about steering in a strong crosswind, but in fact that wasn’t so much of a problem. Instead the windy conditions just made the ride hard.

As an early starter, the road was pretty quiet, and I had no hold-ups on any of the roundabouts. I reached the turn in a shade under 30 minutes, and the finish in 58:20.

Davey Jones was out again with his camera – the picture below is exiting the final RAB at Sandy with about three miles to go.

Three miles to go!
Three miles to go!

Results at the CTT website

2016 Summer Tour

Rather later than usual, we went off for another jaunt round the Outer Hebrides on our trusty tandem.

We decided on island hopping once again because it seemed likely that CalMac would lose the bidding for the ferry contract to Serco – but in the end, sense prevailed and CalMac continue to provide the service.

The weather varied from atrocious to astonishingly great. Sadly, neither extreme was frequent, and the prevalent weather was pretty overcast.

You can find the tour report via the Cycle Touring in Scotland drop-down menu at the top of the page, or via this direct link. I wrote this report using Microsoft Sway, you’ll need to give it a few moments to load.

Stoke Hammond ’10’ 29/6/16

This blog’s been a bit quiet lately – I missed a couple of club events due to weather and having visitors, rode the Stony course twice (the the NBRC website for those), and missed the cut for a couple of time trials over on the E2. Last night’s time trial on the Stoke Hammond course was relocated from the Stagsden course due to traffic lights (which also affect the Astwood course) – there’s no indication when these lights will be removed. This, together with the ongoing work on the Brogborough course means that we are down to two regular courses.

Anyway, this evening’s event was forecast to be wet and windy. As it turned out, it was a bit windy for comfort, but the rain held off until the event was over. Only five riders turned out. I found my front trispoke a bit of a handful, and was off the tribars for a most of the outbound section on the dual carriageway. However, the return leg was pretty quick and not too twitchy aside from one very alarming buffet from the gusty wind.

I was second equal (with Andy), and first on vets standard with 23:58. Not too bad for the conditions. Full results at the NBRC site.

I’m looking forward to my upcoming cycle tour, once again in the Outer Hebrides, I feel I need a break from work pressures and I’m running out of steam for the training and racing!

Stoke Hammond ’10’  11/5/16

There was rain forecast for this day, but nothing prepared us for the scale of the late afternoon downpour! Fortunately the rain had long stopped by the time we assembled for this evening’s club event, which had been relocated from the scheduled course to the Stoke Hammond course due to roadworks. The prospect of splashing through water seemed to have put off some riders, so we had a reduced field of 6.

In the end, it was warm and fairly sunny, but with two huge puddles to negotiate (one at the final RAB and the other just before the finish) each occupying a whole lane in each case, I think we were all a little apprehensive.

I set off and immediately found it hard going, though I’m not sure why. This feeling to riding through treacle continued all the way to the second RAB, but once out on the main dual carriageway, I felt much better. On the return leg, I was just catching Darren at the penultimate RAB when I got a bit stuck behind half a dozen or so cars. This was frustrating as Darren got through OK, leaving me grumping behind!

Once I got going again, I set off down the hill towards the first puddle. I negotiated this fine, but there was a fair bit of light tooting from cars behind me, though I I’m not sure why and it didn’t sound particularly aggressive! The second puddle was not problem at all, and I almost got back to Darren before the finish.

I finished in 22:49, for second place and 1st on veteran standard (results at the NBRC website). Here’s a photo gallery of all six riders, taken by Claire Stanton from two locations.

Annoyingly I punctured just before getting home.

Norlond ’50’ 8/5/16

This event was held on the F1B/50, and was my first ’50’ for a few years. It was also a lovely morning, though a bit chilly at the start – it was enough for me to put arm warmers on, though I later regretted that as conditions warmed up during the race.

I’m pretty familiar with the course, so no surprises there. I didn’t have too much in the way of problems at roundabout, just one or two slight delays. I was caught for 3 minutes by #40 shortly after the first turn (about a quarter of the way through), but I later saw him wheeling his bike with a front wheel puncture.

I had my minute man in my sights for much of the race. He seemed to be connected by a long piece of elastic – he was far better at picking lines through roundabouts, as every time we traversed one, he pulled away from me a little.

I reckon I paced this event quite well, and it was only over the last couple of miles that I felt myself to be flagging. In the end, I was placed 16th, with 1:57:25.

Here’s a picture, courtesy of Davey Jones

At the first turn...
At the first turn…

Astwood ’10’ 4/5/16

At last, we had a splendid sunny and war evening, and 29 riders turned out, including several new members! Not too much to report (particularly since I am posting this several days after the event!), but I recall feeling pretty good. We reverted to the old start/finish in Astwood since the BikeBus was closed on this evening, which meant the finish line was back to being at the top of the climb into Astwood.

Full results at the NBRC website, here are the top five placings – look how close the timings were in the top 3!

Pos No Name Club Time Cat Vets Std .+ / – Vets Std
1 24 Richard Golding Equipe Velo 23.08 V47 26.32 .+ 3.24 3
2 27 Tim Bailey NBRC 23.11 V49 26.41 .+ 3.30 2
3 6 Robert Saunders NBRC 23.20 V56 27.14 .+ 3.54 1
4 22 Jason Lee TeamMK 23.57 V47 26.32 .+ 2.35 5
5 9 Trevor Hook TeamMK 24.06 V58 27.26 .+ 3.20 4

Photo gallery from Claire Stanton. 

Cambridge CC ’10’ 30/4/16

This event was on the F2D/10, and had a full field, with 17 women and two mixed tandems. The women all started as a block near the start of the event. NBRC had three riders on the startsheet: David Price and Debbie Vanner had also entered, though David DNS’d due to a bad cold. I went over with Katja, who was to start some 77 minutes before me.

It was a bit breezy with a stiff breeze that made the outbound leg much quicker than the return. To add insult to injury, the middle of the field were caught in a nasty rain squall with significantly tougher wind. I could barely steer the bike while warming up. Fortunately the A428 has decently high embankments either side which offer some shelter. I had a clear run through, particularly at the turn, which is really quite good – you can see it on the Garmin trace. The only traffic issues were right after the start – you head west on the old A428 and turn sharp left at the roundabout to go down the sliproad to the A428. There was a learner driver being quite cautious, with a lorry and another car behind them. I don’t suppose it caused too much delay, but it always feels like it does. And no doubt the learner driver was being a bit anxious about all the TT bikes wobbling around. Continue reading